Improve short bus trips - Datacity

Improve short bus trips

Home > Challenges > Improve short bus trips



Develop a solution for short and on-demand bus trips ​by using the 19th District in Paris

Commuting in big cities is often simply about short trips, across a neighborhood, by foot or by bike, on a city-sanctioned Vélib’, if you’re in Paris…Understanding the nature and the frequency of these short trips is of great interest to public actors wanting to offer the best public transport system, just like private actors wish to offer services that are more adapted to their customers’ needs. In Paris, a wide variety of public transport options exists, but the level of the use of public transport, despite the attractiveness of these options, is today considered insufficient in terms of running costs.


The aim of the study was to validate the relevance of a flexible on-request bus service ​to meet local travel needs.


  • Use case

  • Data sets and experimentation field

  • Business opportunities

  • Results

Potential uses cases


Several courses of reflection were identified during SmartCity meetups. The working scope is wide – the optimization of itineraries, the creation of dynamic itineraries, “on demand” services, increased flexibility.


These transversal buses currently serve fixed courses, with a fixed schedule.


This way it currently functions may be ostensibly maintained through its optimization. This would entail understanding the current typology more clearly, as well as the needs of the locals in order to:

– optimize the routes

– adapt the frequency of buses to demand

– raise awareness among locals of the transport options on offer by increasing signage


The service might be made more flexible by:

– designing an “on demand” service, for groups and/or individuals

– creating alternative services, inspired by models used abroad

– using a fixed route but allowing “on demand” stoppage along said route

– adopting a “taxi-bus” approach, with fixed departure and arrival in certain communities, but allowing for flexible arrival and departure points within them


Project promoters may take advantage of solutions listed here or feel free to suggest different approaches.

Data sets and experimentation fields


The City of Paris, a stakeholder in the Challenge, has made available four transversal bus lines as a field of experimentation.


These four lines, operated by French public transport operator the RATP, are currently in operation within the jurisdiction of the City of Paris, more precisely Charonne, Batignolles-Bichat, Bièvres-Montsouris and Ney-Flandre. These mini-buses can hold around twenty passengers and are wheel-chair accessible.

The business opportunities


The optimization of theses short-trip modes of transport is a major issue for cities and makes up a significant portion of public expenditure.


The solutions identified may be replicated in other contexts and in other cities, perhaps in conjunction with DataCity partners.



– Padam simulated routes in the area served by La Traverse and throughout the entire 19th district using different inputs (e.g. number of buses, number of passengers, rate of acceptable detours) leveraging:

– Anonymous GSM mobile data ​provided by SFR

– An online survey​ to validate the qualitative travel expectations of the local population




Using the same budget (i.e. 3 buses), Padam’s simulation for the sector of La Traverse showed that an on-demand solution could address the needs of 300 passengers daily, which is less than the fixed-route bus’ current activities​. Specific insights were:


– The Padam service is on demand, and thus implies a high rate of responding to requests. A fixed bus route such as La Traverse does not have this constraint, as users adapt to its operation.

– The territory covered has a stretched-out form​, which is not optimal for a flexible bus network. Larger scale simulations (i.e. throughout the entire 19th district) showed that with 11 buses, the Padam solution can transport 1,300 passengers and lead to a 20% cost reduction per passenger versus La Traverse routes.




Given the cost required to operate such a solution, it has not been implemented to date​. However, the initiative helped Padam to position itself on new markets, providing Padam concrete use cases and credibility, thereby helping the startup to generate new leads including abroad.